on 8 October 2002
A sequel to 'Too Much Temptation', you need not have read the first book, but I think that you should because it's such a good one. This book begins a few months after the previous one ends, and is about Noah's brother, Ben Badwin. I liked Ben in the earlier book, and was eager to read more about him.
Ben loves the ladies, and they love him right back. He enjoys his life as owner of a motel / diner / bar complex, and is happy with his life. Ben has very few inhibitions. He loves his brother, his mother and is beginning to come to terms with his grandmother, Agatha. He enjoys women, but is happy with the status quo. Into his life waltzes Sierra Murphy - new owner of her own landscaping business whose offices are just across the street from Ben's motel. The attraction between them is instant. Ben wants hot sex, but Sierra although attracted to Ben, doesn't want sex at all. Or so she thinks - it is up to Ben to convince her, to find out the very private Sierra's secrets and open her up to him. Only in doing so, he finds he's also opened himself to her. And then her past comes back to stalk her...
What I like about Foster, her 'warts and all' approach to her characters, especially on the sensual side, is actually what gave me a problem in the first part of this book. Ben is supremely confident in his sexual prowess, due to extensive experience. He initially actively seeks to dominate Sierra sexually, in part because she is able to stand up for herself verbally but seems to have no defences from him once they touch. I found this extremely unattractive in Ben, and I found particularly distasteful his and Sierra's comparison of their own activities with those in Ben's past. I don't mind the comparison, but I would have liked for Ben to realise that Sierra was different, and then moved on. This didn't occur until much later in the book. I think this situation is very realistic, but I just didn't like the continual references. On the other hand, once he realised Sierra's vulnerability and the reason behind her distrust, Ben handled the emotional side of their relationship probably better than Sierra did, so the character scales ultimately balanced.
Once I got past Ben's calculatedly dominating sexual ways, when he came to know Sierra and her vulnerabilities, I found the book very enjoyable. The blunt speech, particularly in the men, is very refreshing and serves to show exactly how they are feeling and what they're thinking. Noah, Grace and Agatha return to reprise their roles from Too Much Temptation, and it's interesting to see how Sierra views these characters - a fresh perspective on old friends. The little gem that was the relationship between Ben's mother and Sierra's best friend was a highlight of the book for me - I almost enjoyed it more than Ben and Sierra's romance! The gradual revelation of Sierra's past was well done, and Foster is able to make each of the characters distinct from one another, and the relationship between them very well defined. The erotic aspect of the book was well handled by Foster, who is by now a past master at slow burning heat.
Those who have read Too Much Temptation might want to compare Noah and Agatha's relationship to Agatha and Ben, or to see how Sierra views Noah compared to how Grace did - I certainly saw him differently through Sierra's eyes - he seems much more dangerous!
Overall another winner by Foster.